Things That Made Me Smile (June 13, 2022) #WeeklySmile

Hi everyone. I haven’t done a gratitude list in a while and, to be honest, have been struggling to find enough things to be grateful for to make a list out of them. Today was another mixed day. However, I did find a major reason to smile in the morning, which I am sharing with The Weekly Smile.

You see, my assigned home staff has a new family pet and a rather unusual one at that. This morning, she invited me over to her house to see it and I actually got to hold the animal. Can you guess what it is?

Yes, indeed, it’s a hedgehog! Specifically, this one’s a four-toed hedgehog. They can legally be held as pets as of 2015 here in the Netherlands, but there are only a few breeders. My staff said she had to go through a whole screening process to see if she and her family would be fit to take care of a hedgehog. The hedgehog, a female named Willow, can only leave its cage for an hour at a time, because otherwise it’ll lose too much body heat.

When I held it, at first it didn’t feel prickly at all. I compared its prickliness to my sister-in-law’s late rough-haired dachshund. Only when Willow got a little overstimulated at the end did it put up its spines.

Hedgehogs like this one aren’t used to living in groups or even pairs, so they can easily be left alone for a few weeks (provided they have enough food and water) to fend for themselves. Even so, the atmosphere did feel cozy because of Willow.

After my visit with Willow, my staff let me jump on her kids’ trampoline in her garden for a bit too. Her husband has an aviary with Gouldian finches in it. They were too quick for us to even attempt to take pictures of them or so my staff said, but their birdsong was quite beautiful.

Gratitude List (May 20, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I’m feeling all sorts of things today. To focus my attention on the positives, I am doing a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful my husband and I went barbecueing on Saturday. It was delicious!

2. I am grateful my hearing is still fine. I had a hearing test on Monday and am so happy it showed I can still hear pretty well.

3. I am grateful for clean water. Upon inspection, legionella was found in one of our water pipes. Again, for the second time in a year. I am grateful the cleaning crew was able to destroy the bacterium.

4. I am grateful for an opportunity to go swimming. Because the crew had to come out to clear our waterworks of legionella bacteria, we had to leave the home from 10AM till 4PM Tuesday. The other clients could stay at day activities, but I normally get my day activities in the home. We did set up my computer in an empty room at another home, but I really wanted to be gone. My staff offered to take me swimming. It was great fun!

5. I am grateful for a day in which I walked more than 10K steps. Tuesday was a truly amazing day with respect to physical activity.

6. I am grateful that, after the legionella was destroyed, the home didn’t smell of chlor or whatever they used to clear the waterworks.

7. I am grateful for warm weather. Not today, but the rest of the week, we had daytime temperatures of roughly 25°C.

8. I am grateful my husband’s truck’s trailer got fixed. It had been having problems with its brakes that could’ve led to it catching fire for weeks. Thankfully, each time, my husband stopped driving just in time. Last Wednesday, he texted me that it’s a miracle and the thing had been fixed.

9. I am grateful for crafty inspiration once again. I have truly been loving creating some things in polymer clay again. Unfortunately, because I used the day center’s oven today to try if that’d work better than the large care home one, it burned my project. It was just a small test case though.

10. I am grateful my sister gave birth to a healthy baby girl yesterday. She chose the name I dislike as the baby’s first name and, for the middle name, chose the name I like but spelled in a way I like a little less. I’ll get used to it though.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (May 13, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone! What a week, what a day it’s been. I really feel like writing, but my head is buzzing, so I thought for a bit of cheer and calm, I’d do a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful. Here goes.

1. I am grateful my staff were able to get the staffing schedule figured out and actually without temp workers needing to step in. The reality was, the temping agency didn’t have anyone available, so the regular staff ended up overworking, but this was a huge positive for me as it meant no unfamiliar faces.

2. I am grateful that a new staff was finally hired to work here. She did come from another home that’s part of my care facility, so they might now have a staffing shortage, but oh well, that’s not my problem. Until this staff came here, a lot of potential staff were given a look around my home but decided eventually not to want to work here.

3. I am grateful for delicious home-cooked chicken and rice yesterday. I actually cooked it with my day activities staff.

4. I am grateful for the smile on one of my fellow clients’ faces when I offered him a serving of the chicken and rice too. He is the only one in my care home who can eat rice without choking, so the staff, when cooking, never cook rice. I’m so happy he was pleased.

5. I am grateful for Sadje’s comment on my last blog post. I thought WordPress was acting up, since I wasn’t getting any comments. It might still be, but at least someone is able and willing to comment.

6. I am grateful for a visit from my mother-in-law on Tuesday. I am grateful we had a good talk with my assigned home staff. After that, we went to Rijssen, a town about a 30-minute drive from Raalte, to go for a walk and have coffee.

7. I am grateful I was able to mostly stick to my healthier eating plan over the past week. The only exception was the sausage roll I ordered in Rijssen. It not only was unhealthy, but came out of the microwave or so it seemed, so it definitely didn’t score an eight out of ten on how much I wanted to eat it. That’s the rule my dietitian gave me for treats: if they don’t score an eight or above on how eager I am to eat them, I might consider skipping them.

8. I am grateful that I did lose 0.4kg when I stepped onto the scale today as compared to last week.

9. I am grateful my semi-orthopedic shoes arrived back from the orthopedic shoemaker. The last time I sent them back, I had a blister on my right heel after only ten minutes of walking on them. Now I haven’t walked longer than that at a time on the shoes, but so far, so good.

10. I am grateful I got an E-mail from the store I bought the headphones that stopped working after two weeks at, saying they’ll give me my money back. I don’t have it in my bank account yet, but they said it could take up to five business days.

11. I did order new headphones and am grateful they work so far. They are a fifth of the price of the non-working ones, but still I am hoping they keep working.

12. I am grateful for paracetamol. I had to take it several times this past week for toothache or headache, but thankfully it worked.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (May 6, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone on this first Friday of May. My husband and I always count the days from May 4 till May 8 as special days. May 6 is only special because Pim Fortuyn, a Dutch politician, was murdered on this day in 2002. Not really a cause to celebrate. Nonetheless, I’m doing a gratitude list today anyway. As usual, I’m linking up with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful for a good talk with the behavior specialist on Tuesday. She was really understanding of my wish to eventually find a more suitable care home.

2. I am grateful I finally had a face-to-face meeting with my community psychiatric nurse again after several months. She’d been off work for a while and, before that, I had COVID and had to talk to her on the phone. I am so glad she’s back!

3. I am grateful my nurse practitioner called me on Tuesday, after I’d E-mailed him on Monday evening because I’d been in crisis. We will soon be planning a meeting with the behavior specialist too so that my nurse practitioner can get a more complete picture of my mental health.

4. I am grateful my husband’s car didn’t need replacing or repairing after all. The financial setback I mentioned last week, was related to his car. It made a weird sound, which could be the oil level, but could be a lot of other things, likely to be very expensive to repair. My husband was considering trading in the car if it wasn’t the oil level. Thankfully, that’s what it turned out to be.

5. I am grateful the store I bought the headphones at (the ones that stopped working after two weeks) finally sent off the headphones to the manufacturer. It took my staff making a phone call on Monday for them to send them out and another phone call for them to confirm they’d actually been sent out, but now I’m hoping they’ll be fixed soon.

6. I am grateful I am still allowed to borrow the headphones the Care Lab loaned us before I even originally ordered the ones that stopped working. You normally get to only keep products on loan for like a month or so, but the staff said they’d contact the Care Lab.

7. I am grateful I was allowed to go into the nearby care home’s garden to photograph their tulips yesterday. They are beautiful! I had been wanting to photograph them all week, but hadn’t been able to find the right time of day either sunshine-wise or with respect to being able to ask the staff whether I could enter their garden.

8. I am grateful for home-cooked macaroni this evening. It was delicious! Yesterday, I also had some leftover macaroni that we still had in the freezer from the last time we’d cooked it.

9. I am grateful for some crafty inspiration again. I finally did a little crafting today.

10. I am also grateful I finally seem to be in a reading groove again. I have truly been enjoying my young adult novel, Thrive. This is the final installment in the Overthrow trilogy and it’s been out for a year already, but because its prequel was a bit disappointing, I didn’t get to reading this one.

What have you been grateful for lately?

Sharing this post with Flower of the Day too because of the tulip picture.

Gratitude List (April 29, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I am feeling a bit meh today. I don’t really feel like writing a gratitude list, but I do feel like writing something and I can’t think of anything else to write. For both of these reasons – to have something to write and to cheer myself up -, I am going to try to write a thankful list anyway. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful for pizza today. Yes, again. Another staff is leaving and she wanted to give us pizza or pasta from the local Italian restaurant as a goodbye present.

2. I am grateful I was able to give the staff who’s leaving her present. I didn’t end up making something for her myself and initially wanted to stay in my room while the other staff gave the presents to this staff, but I am grateful I decided to go and give her one of the gifts the other staff had bought on behalf of us clients.

3. I am grateful for quiet time to write. It’s now nearly 9PM and between 6PM and 7PM, a guy from the home next door was blasting his music on top volume. Even with noise canceling headphones (unfortunately still the ones I have on loan) on, I still could hear the music clearly. I’m so glad it’s quieted down now.

4. I am grateful for a good phone talk with my mother-in-law on Wednesday. I was able to tell her I’m going to discuss entering the process of finding another care home. To my surprise and gratitude, she fully supports me.

5. I am grateful for a nice phone call with my mother on her birthday yesterday. I obviously didn’t tell her I’ll be looking for another care home. We made some smalltalk and it was okay.

6. I am grateful for sleep. Despite feeling quite on edge lately due to a lot of issues, I am sleeping relatively well.

7. I am grateful to have been able to go to the day center for a considerable time twice this week.

8. I am grateful for funny stories to listen to on YouTube. There is a Dutch children’s book author called Jacques Vriens who read his own stories aloud on YouTube. There are also English-language YouTube channels for children’s stories, which I also love, but Jacques Vriens is a childhood favorite of mine.

9. I am grateful I was able to go onto the large trampoline on Wednesday. It was great fun!

10. I am grateful to be relatively financially secure. I won’t go into detail here, but I am just happy my husband and I can handle a little financial setback.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (April 23, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone on this sunny but windy Saturday afternoon. I’m writing a gratitude post once again. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful. Here are the things I’ve been grateful for lately.

1. I am grateful for some lovely colors I’ve been able to mix with the Fimo Professional true colors pack I got from my staff last week. I so far mixed a purplish red, a beautiful green and of course the sky blue I already may’ve posted about last week.

2. I am grateful for Chinese takeout food. We went to get Chinese food last Monday. Originally, I’d gotten a little upset about it, because the staff generally default to satay with noodles. However, I talked it over with my assigned staff and we decided to order chicken with pineapple and sweet and sour sauce too. One of my fellow clients was completely delighted.

3. I am grateful for a text conversation with my sister. She’s still doing well with her pregnancy (she’s nearly 37 weeks along), for which I’m grateful too.

4. I am grateful for the support from my staff. I’ve had a rough couple of days this week, but my staff pulled me through.

5. I am grateful I was able to go on the elliptical for the first time in a long while this week. I went on it for only five minutes or so, but that’s the way to get started.

6. I am grateful I am sometimes able to go for slightly longer walks than just a walk around the day center and for several walks during the day now too.

7. I am grateful I did better than expected at my physical therapy this week.

8. I am grateful my husband is supportive of me even when I’m struggling. I am grateful that my husband is trying to help me come up with solutions to the obstacles I face in life.

9. I am grateful I was able to show a temp staff worker and the intern my polymer clay collection yesterday.

10. I am grateful for soothing playlists of nature sounds and instrumental music on Spotify.

11. I am grateful for sunshine. Despite the fact that it’s chilly and windy, I like it that it’s quite sunny.

12. I am grateful that, despite Easter and all the “bad” food I had over the past couple of weeks, I’m still just plain overweight rather than obese. I am actually at the same weight I was two weeks ago. This is not an excuse to continue having “bad” treats, of course.

That was a better gratitude list than I expected. I initially struggled to get to ten and now I got to twelve, which should be another reason to be grateful, yay!

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (April 16, 2022) #TToT

Hi all on this Saturday before Easter Sunday. I have no idea whether English-speaking people have a word for this Saturday. In Dutch, it’s called “silent Saturday”. I’m having a relatively good day. I thought I’d do a gratitude post once again. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for physical therapy. The physical therapist came by twice this week. Once for my back, which had been planned already. The second time, she came by for bad pain in my right calf. It had been going on for a few days, so really I could’ve told her the first time, but it wasn’t so bad then. Thankfully, after some massaging and a bit of exercising, the pain is almost completely gone now.

2. I am grateful for a good nurse practitioner’s appt on Monday. It was really validating.

3. I am grateful for some distractions from anxiety in the form of polymer clay color mixing. I created some really cool colors.

4. I am grateful my day activities staff ordered the true colors six-pack of Fimo Professional polymer clay, which includes a color mixing chart, as well as large packs of white, Indian red and brilliant blue Fimo Soft polymer clay. (With white, Indian red, brilliant blue and sunflower yellow, which I already had, you can create the colors from the recipes I bought.) The best part is, the day center actually pays for it!

5. I am grateful the Fimo Professional isn’t as crumbly as it was when I last used it. It was actually a bit on the soft side, but still useable.

6. I am grateful for a good Easter lunch yesterday (or should I say Good Friday lunch then?) at the day center.

7. I am grateful for sunshine today and most of the week. Only yesterday was a bit of a cold and cloudy day.

8. I am grateful my computer accepts USB sticks and external hard drives again for now. It for a long while would crash when I fed it a USB stick or hard drive through the USB port. Now, I was able to put both my external hard drive and a USB stick into the USB port without problems. Unfortunately, my wedding pictures aren’t on my external hard drive, like I’d hoped, but I was able to locate some old documents and transfer them into my OneDrive.

9. I am grateful for renewed energy. I decided to have a nap this afternoon and feel so refreshed.

10. I am grateful I won’t be kicked out of the care facility. I’m horribly scared of this again after some recent events, but my staff reassured me.

11. Bonus thankful: I am so grateful for Jesus! It is Easter tomorrow, so I can’t leave this post without mentioning Christ.

What are you grateful for?

Happiest When…: My Creativity-Related Happy List #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter H post in the #AtoZChallenge. Sorry for my being late to post. I am also a bit tired, because I had a rather intense day, so I may not elaborate as much as I normally would. For my letter H post, I once again looked to The Year of You for Creatives. One of the prompts asked us to complete the following sentence ten times: “I am happiest when I…” I decided to tweak it to: “I feel happiest when…” Of course, I am going to answer this with things related to my creativity. In my letter E post, I shared general things that give me joy about my creative work. Today, I am going to try to be more specific. I am going to try to list some things about my crafting as well as my writing. I am aiming for ten things, but if I can think of more, I won’t stop there.

1. I feel happiest when I am watching a YouTube video of a polymer clay tutorial that I think I’ll be able to follow. I have a few favorite YouTubers who provide good voiceover and/or easy-to-follow tutorials.

2. I feel happiest when I find I’m almost perfect at something after a lot of practice, such as doing the twisted mane of a unicorn.

3. I feel happiest when a difficult polymer clay project comes out of the oven better than expected.

4. I feel happiest when online window shopping for new supplies for my crafts, even if I don’t end up buying anything. I feel particularly happy when I find new shops. I recently discovered Etsy. Though I haven’t ordered physical products there because of shipping and possibly customs clearance costs, I did order some digital products there.

5. I feel happiest when I’ve decided on the perfect colors (whether they are based on a color mixing recipe or not) for a project.

6. I feel happiest when a color I’m mixing comes out of the pasta machine blending process exactly as it should.

7. I feel happiest when finally, after a lot of work, a polymer clay slab comes out of the pasta machine without air bubbles or other imperfections.

8. I feel happiest when I’ve been able to take a good photo mostly by myself rather than someone else basically snapping it for me.

9. I feel happiest when I get nice comments on Facebook when sharing my creative projects.

10. I feel happiest when I get a lot of nice comments on a blog post I’m also content about.

11. I feel happiest when showing my staff my new creations or ideas, be it my new folder of color mixing recipes, my latest polymer clay creation or a YouTube video I’d discovered and want to base a new project on.

12. I feel happiest when I can make someone else smile by giving them a handmade gift. Last Monday, I gave a fellow client at the day center a handmade necklace and matching bracelet. Granted, I’d created them a while ago and they weren’t my style, which is why I wanted to get rid of them, but she was over the moon about them.

What makes you feel happiest, creativity-related or otherwise?

Gratitude List (April 1, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I really want to write another blog post tonight. Specifically, I want to write a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful. Let me share those things I’ve been grateful for in the past week.

1. A good appt with the behavior specialist. Behavior specialists, actually, as the one I used to see was a temp and she was introducing me to the new one. We had a good talk.

2. The best Asian food ever gone even better. Read: spicier. Like I said last week, a staff was leaving, the same staff who got me the best Asian food ever a few weeks ago. As a goodbye present to me, she promised me another serving of the food. This time though, she got a “mildly spicy” version. Well, according to the Indonesian cooks, at least. It was amazing, but I did get a slight stomachache from it afterwards.

3. Inspiration to write again. I’m now on a six-day streak on my blog and have picked up writing in my diary app, Day One, too.

4. Great blog stats and engagement. Okay, I feel as though the majority of the page views I got on the day I got nearly 300 this past week, were probably bots, but oh well. I am also getting lots of engagement, which is awesome.

5. Paracetamol. I have been having some back pain lately, but thankfully, it responds well to paracetamol.

6. The new iOS version. It actually finally solved the major Braille-related bug that had been in existence for literally months.

7. My new headphones. I finally decided to order new noise canceling headphones and decided to go for the Bose QuietComfort 45 ones. At first, I was a little disappointed, because the manual said they could be used with an audio cable while on (so that I can use noise canceling). Apparently not. However, other than that and the fact that its spoken announcements are in English only, it’s quite good.

8. The fact that I’m still overweight rather than obese despite a lot of “cheat” meals and treats over the past week. In fact, I only gained 0.1kg.

9. The fact that it wasn’t raining or snowing when I went to the day center this afternoon (it had been snowing and raining a lot during the rest of the day). Plus the fact that, even though the daytime temperature didn’t get above 4°C today, it didn’t even feel all that cold thanks to my winter coat.

10. The fact that a fellow client made me laugh with his April Fools joke this evening. The staff did check whether I was okay with a little prank and I said I was. In the end, I didn’t really understand the prank, but we both laughed at the verbal joke about April Fools that went along with it.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (March 25, 2022) #TToT

It’s the last weekend of March. I didn’t realize it until I read it in this week’s Ten Things of Thankful. Yay, I’m joining in again with a gratitude post! Here goes.

1. I am grateful for daylight until nearly 7PM in the evening. Make that 8PM come this Sunday, as we’re entering daylight saving time. Yay!

2. I am grateful for a field of daisies near the day center. I am grateful I was able to take a few photos of them and I didn’t fall over when sitting on my knees to snap the pics.

Daisy

3. I am grateful I didn’t lose interest in polymer clay altogether. I made a unicorn again today and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also worked on another, larger polymer clay project yesterday.

4. I am grateful the weather permitted me to go outside without a jacket on several days this week.

5. I am grateful for a delicious microwave omelette on Wednesday. I didn’t use cooking oil or butter to microwave the egg, so according to the dietitian, it’s as healthy as a boild egg. I also added chopped onion and bell pepper.

Microwave Omelette

6. I am grateful for birdsong. I got awoken by a bird at 6AM several mornings this week. Though I wasn’t particularly thrilled about that, I do appreciate the sound of birds singing in general.

7. I am grateful it was pay day on Wednesday. I had a whole list of things I wanted to buy in my mind that I had told myself to wait for until pay day at least. So far, I’ve only ordered one thing off the list and that’s something I’ll need for a staff’s birthday next week. Sadly, I haven’t received it yet and have no way of tracking it down.

8. I am grateful I was able to get through a few intense days full of emotional, visual and bodily flashbacks thanks to the support of some trusted staff. I am grateful these few staff are still there and, though no-one can predict the future, they don’t intend on leaving.

9. I am grateful for my PRN quetiapine. It helped me calm down on Tuesday, when I was having a particularly rough evening.

10. I am grateful for my journaling app, Day One. I picked it up again and finally figured out how to use tags properly in it. I also transferred a template from Diarium, the other journaling app I’d been using. One of the good points of Diarium is that it has its templates available in other languages than English, but other than that, I think I prefer Day One after all. I am really hoping I can make journaling a habit again.

What have you been grateful for?